The U.S. Internal Revenue Service has raised the per diem rate for drivers, or the amount per day that a truck driver can be reimbursed for meals and incidental expenses when the driver is away from home on travel

The per diem rate, which has been at $52 a day for several years, will go up to $59 a day, according to the American Trucking Associations' State Laws Newsletter.

The law will take effect Jan. 1, 2010, for drivers for whom the employer has used the $52 amount during 2009. For other drivers, it will take effect Oct. 1, 2009.

According to the ATA newsletter, reimbursements up to that amount need not be documented by receipts or other evidence. Meanwhile, anything over that amount must be documented or will be considered income to the driver.